Monday, November 6, 2006
I was traveling to South Africa, and I had this 18-hour flight layover in Rome, and I wanted to see as much of it as I could. A friend of mine picked me up at the airport and began our whirlwind day by taking me to the Coliseum. As we left, we were surrounded by five or six gypsy children who started talking all at once. My friend actually told me to hang onto my stuff, which I desperately tried to do. I had my wallet in my front pants pocket as a precaution, my passport in my sport jacket, a camera bag, and an umbrella because it was raining. Those kids were good at what they did. They did everything to distract us as they tried to grab something of value. Well, my friend fended them off using his umbrella like a sword, and then we breathed a sigh of relief as we checked to see if we had everything. We had just rounded a corner when I saw this little gypsy girl - maybe five years old or so - running over the hill toward us. She was waving something blue in her hand. It was my passport. Unbeknownst to me, the kids had gotten my passport, and unbeknownst to them, this little girl had brought it back to me. It was a good thing - I wasn't about to get into South Africa without my passport!